Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts gives the state of the county address Thursday at the Georgia World Congress Center. ARIELLE KASS / AKASS@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Public comment rules: Fulton Co. and its cities

Exactly how much time you’ll have to speak at city or county meetings varies widely.

We’ve all been there: Your city council or county commission is taking up a hot issue and you’re ready to speak your mind to your elected officials. The meeting is packed; plenty of folks are geared up to have their say. But do you know the rules governing public comment for your particular city? Your county? You should. Let us help you prepare for that next important meeting so you’ll make the most of your time.

>> LEARN MORE: See the public commenting rules for City of Atlanta | Clayton | Cobb | DeKalb | Gwinnett

Here are the particulars regarding public comment for Fulton County and the various cities within it. For more information, please click on the links below to visit that government’s website.

  • Fulton County Commission -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. 30 minutes total allowed with two minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers must submit speaker cards. Once public comment has begun, they will no longer be accepted.
  • Alpharetta -- Public comment is allowed at the end of the meeting and in response to public hearings, business items and workshop items. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). Speakers’ comments on agenda items must be related to those items. General public comment can't relate to something that was already on the agenda. Speakers are asked to complete a comment card before they speak. At the end of the meeting, they can also complete one after they speak.
  • Chattahoochee Hills -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers must fill out cards, but can do so after the public comment period has begun.
  • College Park -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. There is no total time limit, but there is a limit of nine minutes per topic; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). If a speaker wants to discuss an agenda item, it must be one that has a public hearing. Speakers must sign in and state their name and address for the record.
  • East Point -- Public comment is allowed toward the beginning of the meeting, after public hearings. One hour total allowed with three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). Speakers must only address items related to the city of East Point. Speakers must sign up between 6 p.m. and 6:20 p.m. on the day of the council meeting. Council can choose to extend the time.
  • Fairburn -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. 30 minutes total allowed; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers required to fill out a card before the council meeting starts at 7 p.m.
  • Hapeville -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. Total time limits are 15 minutes for people who have signed up; 10 minutes for people who have not; three minutes allotted to each speaker if someone has signed up; two minutes if they have not (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to sign up in advance and will be permitted one less minute to speak if they do not.
  • Johns Creek -- Public comment is allowed before and after regular business. 30 minutes total time limit for first period with no limit for the second; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to sign up in advance, but are only required to state their names.
  • Milton -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting and before each business item on the agenda. There is no total time limit; five minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address during the general comment period. People must discuss the business items they come up for at other parts of the meeting. Once an agenda item is called, someone may only speak if they have filled out a card.
  • Mountain Park -- Public comment is allowed at any point during the meeting, once council members have spoken on the topic. There is no total time limit; three to five minutes, then another three to five minutes once everyone who wants to speak has done so (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers asked to email 24 hours before a meeting if they want to speak on a specific topic, but can raise their hands at any point during the meeting to weigh in and speak.
  • Palmetto -- Public comment is allowed at the end of the meeting, after public hearings. 30 minutes total allowed with two minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.
  • Roswell -- Public comment is allowed in response to each regular agenda item, on that topic. During open forum meetings (on the fifth Monday of a month) residents can address any topic. There is no total time limit; five minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). Speakers must address the agenda item they're speaking on. There are no limits during an open forum meeting. Speakers asked to fill out a card, so the city has their name.
  • Sandy Springs -- The first meeting of the month has two public comment periods, one at the beginning of the meeting and one at the end. The second meeting has one comment period toward the end of the agenda. There is no total time limit; three minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). Speakers must only address items related to the city of Sandy Springs. Speakers’ cards must be submitted before the meeting begins, or their names will not be called.
  • South Fulton -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. 30 minutes total allowed, but can be added by a majority vote of council. Two minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers’ cards must be completed.
  • Union City -- Public comment is allowed at the start of the meeting. There is no total time limit; two minutes allotted to each speaker (see website for details). No limits on what speakers may address. Speakers not required to sign up in advance.

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